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Supporting the Dawgs For 20 Years and Counting

UGA Paint Line - Supporting the Dawgs For 20 Years and Counting

2018 National Championship: Georgia vs Alabama

IMG_2968For the first time since January 1, 1983, the Georgia Bulldogs will be playing for the National Championship game, and it happens to take place just down the road in Atlanta. Georgia returns to the site of their SEC Championship win after traveling to Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day, defeating the #2 seed Oklahoma Sooners 54-48 2 OT in an instant Rose Bowl classic. This final game will take place against SEC West foe Alabama, a team Georgia has not beaten since Nick Saban’s first year with the Crimson Tide in 2007. The Tide holds a three-game win streak against UGA, winning in Athens in 2008 (41-30) and 2015 (38-10) while also defeating Georgia in 2012 at the old Georgia Dome 32-28 for the SEC title.
Georgia’s coach Kirby Smart, was the defensive coordinator during the previous 3 meetings when the Tide won from 2008-2015. Smart was a part of Saban’s staff that won 4 National Championships in: 2009, 2011, 2012, & 2015. Now in his second year as head coach at Georgia, Smart is trying to follow the trend of coaches winning a National Championship in their second year with a program this century: Gene Chizik Auburn 2010, Urban Meyer Florida 2006, Jim Tressel Ohio State 2002, & Bob Stoops Oklahoma 2000. Smart will be faced with the task of trying to beat his former boss, Saban, who is 11-0 against his former assistant coaches.
For Kirby Smart to be the first assistant to accomplish this feat, here is what must happen. First, Jake Fromm will have to convert at least 50 % of his third down passes as well as keep a few read-pass options. His ability to be mobile is what Saban’s defenses have struggled the most with. Next, it will be important for Georgia’s offensive line to reach the second level to block Alabama linebackers for Chubb and Michel to run. This Alabama linebacking group is wounded as well not as talented as groups Georgia has faced in the past. If Georgia can average 4 yards per carry in this game, they should win since the Tide average giving up 2.7 yards per carry. (#1 in the country) Finally, Georgia’s ability to stop Alabama’s offense on 3rd downs will be crucial. The Tide are ranked 45th in the country at 42.1 % for conversion rate. If Georgia can pressure Jalen Hurts enough to prevent him from throwing to his main target Calvin Ridley, it would be huge. Hurts is ranked #73 in the country with only 2,060 passing yards through 13 games, so it is crucial for Georgia to continue that trend since he is also a mobile runner with 808 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns.
People in the sports world have been breaking down every angle of this game since it was set last week, comparing every facet of the two teams to determine an edge. In reality, these two programs are mirrored in their approach of strong defenses, running games, and quarterbacks that manage their opportunities very well. If Jake Fromm can move the chains through the air as well as not commit turnovers, Georgia can win this game. Jake may still be a true freshman, but his 63.7% completion percentage, 4.6 TD/INT ratio (23 TD, 5 INT) and 9.2 yard per attempt suggest this stage is not too big for him. It has been a magical year for Georgia fans: winning at Notre Dame 20-19 with half the stadium red, shutting out Tennessee 41-0 in Knoxville, destroying both Florida 42-7 and Georgia Tech 38-7, to avenging Auburn 28-7 in the SEC Championship, to finally last week coming from behind 31-14 against Oklahoma and their Heisman trophy QB Baker Mayfield to win in Doubt OT 54-48. I see Georgia winning this game 24-21 behind a game-winning Nick Chubb Touchdown. It would fitting for that to happen, after Sony Michel had the game-winning touchdown against Oklahoma from 27 yards out. To see both former 5-star running backs score game-winning touchdowns in the College Football Playoff after 4 years of ups and downs on the offensive line, injuries, and 3 different running backs coaches would be unbelievable. They came back for their senior season, that has resulted in a combined 2,449 yards, 7.2 YPC, and 31 TD’s so far. This game is for them to prove one last time they are the greatest Running Back duo in College Football history!
God Bless & Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee